England’s Jos Buttler believes the team that best handles the disrupted preparations and distractions surrounding a “unique” Ashes series will have the best chance of going away with the prey.
The wicketkeeper batsman and his teammates from England’s Twenty20 World Cup campaign finally came out of quarantine and joined the rest of the test squad on the Gold Coast on Tuesday.
The rain in Queensland could have thrown another key in by washing out the first day of an intra-squad match, but Buttler was phlegmatic over his lack of preparation for red balls ahead of next week’s first Test in Brisbane.
“In this day and age, many of us switch between formats quite often. In the COVID era, things have also changed quite a bit, with quarantine rules making certain things a little more difficult,” he told reporters.
“I think it’s something you just have to deal with as a modern player, to be able to go into situations without having full preparation.
“No team should use that as excuses, you can still show up the first day and play a really good test match.”
Before agreeing to tour, England’s players negotiated hard over the restrictions they would play under during the five tests around the country, in particular the right to take their families to Australia.
The arrival of the Omicron coronavirus variant on the Australian coasts could potentially force Cricket Australia to move the fifth Test away from Perth or to adjust the conditions for players and their families.
Buttler, however, was reluctant to engage in debates about hypothetical situations.
“I find it tiring to talk about it when you do not know it,” he said.
“It’s not for me to worry about at the moment. There’s a week to the first test here and all our efforts are focused on that.”
Other distractions for the English team have come from the racism series that has engulfed the English game, while Australia have handled the fallout from the “sexting” scandal that cost them their captain, Tim Paine.
Buttler said he would take a “fearless” approach to his first Test trip to Australia, insisting he would focus exclusively on cricket while England try to wring the ashes back. “Around Ashes, there are always certain things going on, and the guys who can handle the distractions an Ashes series throws up … are the team that gets to play best,” the 31-year-old added.